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The Road Not Taken — by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

A Robert Frost Lesson in Melayu Politics

*

For a man who had produced an autobiography and likes recording his thoughts on paper, Mahathir Mohamad is, paradoxically, adverse to books, literature in particular. He once chided Anwar Ibrahim as ‘bookish’, meaning the latter read too much. But, what’s too much?

On point of fact, Malays don’t read enough and Umno saw to it. The thoughts of the men when it isn’t Umno and Allah, it is money and, in consequence, lack a deep enough, solid tradition in literature.

In Robert Frost is a lesson for Mahathir in politics: Specifically, how shall the Malay choose between two Malay parties. It would have been the same dilemma confronting Mahathir when pondering over whether to create Bersatu.

Frost’s poem titled The Road Not Taken is problematic because of the interlocking lines in the beginning and ending:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The most frequent interpretation from those lines is the common idea of risk-taking, hence taking the road less traveled. Yet the title has exactly the opposite connotation:  it “isn’t about what [the speaker] did; it’s about what he didn’t do”, says David Orr.

This problem is further confounded by the lines that say of a decision — choosing which road — based purely on appearances. But Orr argues, “We typically worry more about where roads go than what they look like.”

Argued in this way, then Mahathir’s presentation of a choice between two roads — Bersatu or Umno — produces a startling new angle to view the dilemma he had inflicted upon himself and, as he would in days to come, inflict on the Malays as well. Two roads are about the same and, indeed in Frost, Umno has the better claim and is already trodden black.

If the Malays don’t take the Bersatu road they will, perhaps even regrettably, never know what’s at the end of the road because there is no going back with the decision they had otherwise taken, the one well traveled by. Yet, we know where that will take the Malays since the results of that decision — the road first taken 60 years ago — are everywhere seen today.

***


Excerpted from David Orr.

“The Road Not Taken” has confused audiences literally from the beginning. In the spring of 1915, Frost sent an envelope to Edward Thomas that contained only one item: a draft of “The Road Not Taken,” under the title “Two Roads.” According to Lawrance Thompson, Frost had been inspired to write the poem by Thomas’s habit of regretting whatever path the pair took during their long walks in the countryside—an impulse that Frost equated with the romantic predisposi­tion for “crying over what might have been.”

The difficulty with “The Road Not Taken” starts, ap­propriately enough, with its title. Recall the poem’s conclu­sion: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” These are not only the poem’s best­-known lines, but the ones that capture what most readers take to be its central image: a lonely path that we take at great risk, possibly for great reward. So vivid is that image that many readers simply assume that the poem is called “The Road Less Traveled.” Search­ engine data indicates that searches for “Frost” and “Road Less Traveled” (or “Travelled”) are extremely common, and even ac­complished critics routinely refer to the poem by its most famous line. For example, in an otherwise penetrating essay on Frost’s ability to say two things at once, Kathryn Schulz, the book reviewer for New York magazine, mistakenly calls the poem “The Road Less Traveled” and then, in an irony Frost might have savored, describes it as “not-very-Frosty.”

Because the poem isn’t “The Road Less Traveled.” It’s “The Road Not Taken.” And the road not taken, of course, is the road one didn’t take—which means that the title passes over the “less traveled” road the speaker claims to have fol­lowed in order to foreground the road he never tried. The title isn’t about what he did; it’s about what he didn’t do. Or is it? The more one thinks about it, the more difficult it be­ comes to be sure who is doing what and why. As the scholar Mark Richardson puts it:

Which road, after all, is the road “not taken”? Is it the one the speaker takes, which, according to his last description of it, is “less travelled”—that is to say, not taken by others? Or does the title refer to the suppos­edly better-­travelled road that the speaker himself fails to take? Precisely who is not doing the taking?

We know that Frost originally titled the poem “Two Roads,” so renaming it “The Road Not Taken” was a matter of deliberation, not whim. Frost wanted readers to ask the questions Richardson asks.

The Duck

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From Kadir Jasin’s Nusantara: Najib the shooting gallery duck.

*

The innate talent of Najib Razak is his stupidity. Alongside which comes fault-finding: all his problems are caused by everybody else and which, in turn, exhibits his stupidity.

Looking for Americans to find fault with his 1MDB corruption, he blames the Hungarian Jew George Soros for interfering in local politics. After blaming the Opposition for politicizing 1MDB, he ring-fenced the corruption at the government company as a non-government business in his fiscal budget. When he needed money to get out of the financial deficits in government, he goes to China, begging bowl in hand — after blaming the local Chinese for the insecurity of his position inside Umno. Then, upon his return, he blames even more Chinese but, without guts, calls them the DAP for the prospect of Umno’s losing the next general election. The Utusan slogan Umno or DAP wouldn’t be so laughable if, at an MCA general assembly, he’d tell the Chinese delegates that their political future rights depended on choosing between MCA or PAS.

Melayu bodoh (you’d find plenty in such pages) is, thanks to Najib, a byword in Umno Malay politics today, just as it was when the Chinese once told Umno to balik kampung. The two phrases mean the same thing. That being so, the only deserving and necessary response to Najib’s diatribes at Umno’s recent assembly is this, Learn to tie your shoelaces, boy.

Even that won’t do though. Najib’s talent has most lately outstripped his stupidity: Rohingya! O! my dear Rohingya. Why dost suffer thee? My Najib heart bleeds for thy soul.

His heart is an Islamo-fascist whereas his reputation is Thief.

And that reputation is today worse than a caricature on a Malaysiakini Zunar page (above). Like the routes taken in 1MDB money laundering, from Malaysia to America to Switzerland back to Singapore, his reputation spreads among the Burmese as well. (And you will find plenty hypocritical bleeding heart Najib sycophants in this page: ‘Nothing to do with politics‘, says the Lady of the Valley. O! Really? How stupid of us, we didn’t know that.)

Najib looks worse than the caricature in Zunar.

*

No Americans to find fault with, no more Chinese to blame, all the Jews used up, he resorts to making himself look like a great golfing buddy of Donald Trump, a Jew admirer, by the way, and a more likely ally of China than Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Thus, with no friends left around the world, not even among Yemenis, he takes on the Burmese on the back-to-back assumption that (a) there is domestic political, Islamic capital to be gained from kampung Malaiyoos, who until most recently had never heard of the word Rohingya, pronounce it much less, and that (b) the Burmese are as docile and subservient — or stupid — as Umno and PAS Malays.

Burmese civilization and culture precede the Malaiyoo word. Najib, the fascist bodoh that he is, didn’t even know that, of course.

On KL streets and city restaurants, Najib’s IGP thugs regularly beat up and harass Burmese but the man wants to save them from themselves in the name of some Allah whose Islamic reputation he destroys by being the Thief that he is. While Najib’s father built the foundations of an non-aligned, mind-your-own-business Asean, Najib willy-nilly destroys it. While Najib extols the virtues of non-interference at home, he makes it street wise to campaign for interference with all that’s left among Asean friends. What a motherfucker.

 

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Bersih 4‘s successor is Bersih 5 (above)

Fight 4 country = See girl. Fight for country, meet a true beauty and true fighter. (No silat required. What a bunch of Umno kampung monkeys.)

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…and to hapus Umno, we’ll start with Najib. He personifies and encapsulates all that is hated about Umno: a bunch of whoring Malaiyoos, busy lining their pockets instead of governing, and fascist to boot. We will do it to Umno even if the Chinese have to do it alone. Other Malays, other bumis and the Indians can do what they want, or join us or not join us. Any which way, we have made up our minds. We are finished with Najib.

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Mahathir Mohamad is wrong on point of economic fact and wrong again on point of his logicism. He says,

So, Mr. President of the MCA, stop trying to make any criticism of Najib’s borrowings from China as a racial issue to gain the support of the Malaysian Chinese. It is not racial. It is national.

The MCA has no support left to be gained from the Chinese Malaysian; even MCA rank and file members support the movement against the excesses of Umno. If Najib (or the MCA) can gain political mileage out of China, it is tough to square with the words of the Chinese ambassador who has warned Umno: threaten and hurt the Chinese, China “will not sit by idle.”  It has not occurred to Mahathir, China has now additional munitions, more than MYR 100 bn worth, to put Najib away in a box.

Mahathir also says:

Giving the contract to a foreign company means the money will flow out of the country. This is not healthy for any country.

Where did Mahathir learn his economics? At more than 90 years old, he still hasn’t mastered even the most elementary macroeconomic laws: Capital gains and losses is not a zero-sum endeavor. If it were, Malaysia should shut down the stock exchange, where capital outflows on any single month beat the years of contracts added up from Najib’s China deals. He should have shut down the Central Bank as well and turn the country into a hermit kingdom like North Korea or Myanmar, after which he has no need to fear money outflows.

Mahathir lies: it is out of spite of Najib and not ‘love of country’ — patriotism supposedly — when he picks on the MCA to put down an Umno political opponent.

Fuck you, Old Horse. You’re down to your old, tired, racist tricks. They don’t work any more and are completely counter productive.

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Umno Melayu wants to hapuskan Cina. Cakap saja: so much silat, so much Nusantara monkeying, but, still, all gas and fart from the world’s biggest fascist party.  Our knees are shaking like hell; we’re so frightened, Jamal.

Hey, Ali! Remember to take the Melayu kids before you burn down the school.

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Staring at Najib Razak, knives all around him: Now, we got him exactly where we want him.

Najib inspecting a Chinese honor guard of the People’s Liberation Army that has sworn since the beginning of time to protect Chinese lives — wherever they may be.

In my Motherland, to the man who repeatedly maligns us, threatens Chinese their lives and property, we shake his hands, feed him, and lend him money … while the world thinks we are promoting a Thief.  Isn’t there a bottom limit to being stupid and naive?

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As Mahathirism burns behind him, Mahathir attempts to save himself from himself.

*

Mahathirism in a nutshell:

…, it must give the people in the rural constituencies and the unsophisticated urban constituencies the kind of comfort associated with UMNO’s kind of racism.  (The quotation appeared at a Chedet’s 2016 August page since removed.)

Next, the existential Malay as defined also by Mahathir Mohamad:

For the rural people who largely are poor, race is not only important but they believe is essential for their well-being. UMNO’s popularity is because it is a racial party.

But, because those words constitute Mahathirism, none of them is new — you’ll find the same ingredients of those thoughts in The Malay Dilemma, Mahathir’s pseudo sociological tract — although they constitute the prologue and the brick and mortar justification for Bersatu’s founding. (The Registrar of Societies says not to use the term Bersatu. But, then, they are just assholes reporting to the Thief.)

People probably think nothing of those lines; they seem all too self-evident. But reread them slowly then chew over their embedded ideas: Malay equals rural; Malay equals poor; (and especially these last two points) Malay equals Umno; and, Malay equals racism.

Those concepts, taken for granted for half a century and since Malaysia’s founding, are Mahathirism anchored in the existential meaning of the Malay (always rural, always poor and forever racist). They provide Malays their political raison d’etre (Umno and nothing but Umno). But, are they even true?

Forty, fifty years ago everybody, Lim Goh Tong and the Chinese included, was poor by today’s standards; and Malaya and early Malaysia was one of the richest Asian countries, second perhaps only to Japan. Statistically, therefore, the Malays would have been richer than even the Chinese because they are half the population and had all the plumb government jobs and own the land; most Chinese then had only their clothes on their backs.

In proclaiming these traits of the Malay, Mahathir, worse off than his tunneled, bigoted notions of Malays which has gone unchanged since The Malay Dilemma days, has actually proclaimed the failure of his economic and social objectives.

His failures prompt the question, if Mahathir had been wrong all along why is Bersatu even necessary? The party will simply mean, more of the same. Why should Umno be still around? It will only further ruin of what’s left of the Malays, a point of fact Mahathir attests to, both in words and deeds (Bersatu, Saving Malaysia), three generations after The Malay Dilemma.

Three consecutive Malay leaders — from Mahathir to Abdullah Badawi, and now Najib Razak — having failed cannot be a coincidence of bad luck. Mahathir and post-Mahathir had done nothing but prescribe the wrong treatment for a wrong diagnosis. That doctor doesn’t know what he has being doing and won’t admit it.

The only justification left for continuing this great farce is, Democracy — the Malays are the majority. Which, in Malaysia, and which Mahathir himself (along with nearly every Umno leader past and present) has conceded, is the majority of the “unsophisticated”, the “rural”, the “poor” and the “racial” minded (all Mahathir’s words). To Malays, if Hell is other people, the Chinese, then Democracy is the Malay, the stupid and the ignorant.

In the circumstance, Pakatan Harapan (PH) is but a new prescription for adhering to a wrong prognosis: instead of insulin, sugar transfusions for the cardiac patient.  If Muhyiddin Yassin doesn’t want PH to move forward alone, yet, it isn’t because of PAS which, really, is nothing more than than an Umno in-foetus, rural, poor and ignorant, while Bersatu is nothing more than an Umno abortion, city, poor and equally ignorant.

It is because all three parties deliver the same treatment — Democracy — that good, even unpopular political leadership and wise guidance have not had a chance to rise up. Is it any wonder, therefore, a person like Zaid Ibrahim or PKR’s Rafizi Ramli, both supposedly more rational than most Malays, think of nothing but getting the Malay, rural, poor, unsophisticated, racial vote?

Such kind of opportunism simply means to let the rural, poor, unsophisticated, racial Melayu to dictate the future of Malaysia — and themselves of course. It’s identical to letting the rural, poor, unsophisticated, racial Melayu fix their cures for their own maladies.

Anwar Ibrahim, no matter the words he uses, justice and hope, is the embodiment of the Mahathirism he blames for causing Mahathirism. Khairuddin Abu Hassan (below) is smarter than all Malay leaders past and present stacked up, but that’s also the reason he is stuck where he is. The Malay politician, if he is to succeed individually, must first failed nationally. Najib is a classic case of this instance.

Think through, therefore, this truism in Mahathirism: To sustain its own purpose, Mahathirism is a serpent that has to devour its tail. In this circular, self-defeating piece of bogus philosophical junk, Umno and Malay interest are mutually exclusive so that in the party’s interests, the population it seeks to promote should not do well. The Malay do well is the end of Umno, and Bersatu would have no reason for being.

Enough with this farce.  Time for the Malay to look elsewhere: The Chinese would like to put forward a revolutionary way, for the Melayu especially. Why? In is in the Chinese interests that the Malay do well.

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Between Najib and Mahathir:

Choose One, Play Along with the Other

*

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Bersatu above; below, Mahathir Mohamad and Zaid Ibrahim.

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Greetings, Zaid:

How was that — the post title, I mean — for forgetting. No, we, the Chinese, won’t forget. We have elephant memories. Remember the Sarawak elections? Then Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar? Mahathir was trashed good and proper in those places. Wasn’t he? Cornered between Najib and Mahathir, we’d rather pick Najib. Want to know why?

It isn’t because we remember what those Bersatu leaders meant to us and how they had treated us before. Nor is it because we want to, as you said, “harp on small mistakes.”

Small, did you say? People like Mahathir had instigated for setting fire to Chinese lives and property, and you call those “small mistakes”. You see any difference between the Mahathir of the past and Jamal Yunos of the present?

No. We see no difference. Which is the reason we choose Jamal of Sungai Besar. This is because he, like Najib, is the product of Mahathir. Najib can be bought — and to protect our lives and our property, why not? The police aren’t going to do it anyway. But Mahathir? He has to be eradicated. Here, below, is he some 40 years later when justifying Bersatu’s existence:

If the new party is to compete with UMNO, it must give the people in the rural constituencies and the unsophisticated urban constituencies the kind of comfort associated with UMNO’s kind of racism.  (The quotation appeared at Chedet’s 2016 August page since removed.)

That wasn’t some small, one-off mistake. There’s more:

For the rural people who largely are poor, race is not only important but they believe is essential for their well-being. UMNO’s popularity is because it is a racial party.

And, here, is you recently:

(S)ome Malays today do not live in the real world. They feel the need for an “Islamic state” without knowing what it actually means. They are fearful of DAP but are happy with Chinese from Beijing taking over the country. (2016 November 9)

Hang Li Po, I know you are smiling with satisfaction from the heavens, but have pity on us. Don’t take away everything from my beloved country.  (2016 November 4)

Nov 4  corroborates your Nov 9 remarks of “some Malays” who see the Chinese — whether they live in China or in Malaysia is of no difference to you — as wanting to “take away everything” from Tanah Melayu. Guess whose favorite statement is that 30, 50 years ago?

So you see Zaid, you haven’t really, really changed from your Umno days. Have you? To you, the heart is of no importance; truth and empirical facts much less. Only winning the vote matters: in the present situation, beating Najib at the ballot is all that counts to you.

So what’s going to happen to the Chinese should Bersatu win? What’s Mahathir going to say? Or do? That the party leaders, because they are in government and for the “comfort of unsophisticated Malays”, must therefore stop the Chinese from “taking away everything”?

Of course, against Najib, we’ll work with Mahathir and Muhyiddin and Bersatu. We’ll work even with you, Zaidi boy. But that’s because it will destroy Malaiyoo unity. BTW, those are Mahathir’s words, not ours. You’ve forgotten, have you? Convenient ain’t it?

So, Zaid, we won’t harp on small mistakes. We’ll harp on big ones…. You are still so fucking Umno: go screw your mother.

Yours truly

Cina Pendatang

Postscript: Read that you might contest in the next GE. Don’t enter a constituency with Chinese in it because we’ll hold your placards and banners and then pour every sen into making sure you lose, not just your fucking deposit, but your prick. Asshole.

Dear Mr Ramon Navaratnam:

We, the Chinese, note with thanks your generous assessment into the state of China-Malaysia relations, in particular the visit by His Excellency Najib Razak to our Motherland and the 143 billion ringgit in investments and MOU agreements. “This is to be fair,” you say, “no mean achievement by any standards. Credit must therefore be given.”

For your information, most of the agreements, the center-piece of which is the East Coast Rail Line corridor (ECRL), were at the drafting and design stages years ago, that is, long before the 1MDB exploded in the international newspaper headlines around mid-2015. (See, for example, essay below, the 2012 Qinzhou for Kuantan industrial park.) China’s material and financial support of foreign infrastructure and investments are precise: tell us your economic objectives (please note the term, economic), and we’ll tell you what we think and, together, we take it from there.

The ECRL is one of those results. As a geographical fact, the peninsula is split down the middle by a mountain range that runs from the Thai border and reaching close to Singapore. There has been no economic integration between these two physical halves, not since ever nor since Zheng He of the Ming era. At the same time, shipping routes must traversed the entire peninsular just to reach both sides of it, an absurd situation but which presents an opportunity to simultaneously generate international trade and domestic integration on both sides of the coast. The question was how?

We have since answered the question by fitting Malaysia’s economic development with China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. Our interests in your domestic projects are direct and straightforward: we will build and finance at a discount. On completion, the projects are yours to keep and to profit from, but, in our shoes, you’d pose the same question with this answer: China, too, must benefit.

If not, those projects have no wider purpose: we lend you money then leave you alone to your project. Fail or succeed isn’t our business so long as you repay. (Remember Perwaja and Proton?) We are reduced to being a pure lender — a chettiar in your lingo — the primary method of western governments, their external development programs and their financial institutions.

Consequently, many western observers see China’s plans as a means for world conquest. We laughed. Opponents of Najib see his collaboration with us as something sinister. We laughed at that, too. Their opposition was, of course, purely political: anybody associated with Najib has to be brought down, China in this case. This is the same political method adopted by Najib: anybody associated with Mahathir Mohamad must be brought down. Hence, when the Chinese in Malaysia alongside Mahathir opposed him, he threatens with his Red Shirt hoodlums to burn Chinese property and kill Chinese. (Next time, if you are so concerned about ‘peace’ and ‘well-being’, remind Najib that. Better yet, tell him to take on our Chinese PLA.)

Too bad, Malaysians, Malays in particular, resort to terror tactics to gain favors. What’s the matter with your kind of assholes because such a tactic raises the inverse of the problem that both sides drum up: What’s in it for Najib and your government, politically? What’s in it for Mahathir to oppose Najib and China? Nothing is truly about people.

As best as we can, and we do try, the projects we do around the world, we do so with a clear heart and an objective mind. Tin-heads or democrats might attempt to bend those projects in their political favor but direct and straightforward participation by us allow for little room to, as you might say, cream off from the proceeds. We are not Goldman Sachs nor the IMF. Nor are we some half Indian chettiar from your motherland.

Our way of doing things, call it what you will, returns us to the gist of your statement to Bernama: “May this Malaysia-China impressive investment deal be the start of a new era of eastern economic well-being and peace.” Peace? Well-being? This is so banal and it is so much tripe, the same sort of thing Najib he himself would say, pointing to the plum tree while scolding the apricot.

You don’t get it, do you? Whatever it is Najib says or promises, nobody trust him — not after 1MDB. Worse than shaking the hands of a Malay, we won’t deal direct with any Malaiyoo, not even the half of you: they can’t get a handle of their sons and families, they want to manage a country? The best we can do is this, nod our heads and pretend to listen. Documents we will sign, so what? Najib, years ago, was witness to lots of paper signing with those desert towel heads, 60 billion ringgit worth. Remember that? In our position, who wouldn’t think: ‘Your Excellency, what’s your next scam?’

Please, dear Ramon, if it weren’t out of deference to Najib’s father and the position he occupies — that’s position not his person — we’d tell you, Sir: You sound like those motherfucking Aussies. So shut the fuck up. You don’t know what it is you are saying.

Yours truly,
Cina Pendatang
***

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The Peninsula Development Plan

The flipped around L-shaped bold red line known as the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) sticks out of the map-drawing above like some tall red-head girl in a crowd waiting for the KTM train that is never on time, if ever it arrives.

Forget the red head for a moment.

Consider instead the map-drawing then recall the days of Mahathir Mohamad. Then, most of the projects (Twin Towers, Putrajaya, airport) were centered in the Klang Valley and along a swathe of land stretching from there to Sepang for roughly 60 km. Many of Mahathir’s projects require a large domestic population for their continued viability (Putrajaya/Cyberjaya); they depend on external resources (Perwaja, iron and steel); and you hope to be profitable with minimal competition (Proton). Numerous of these projects have since stalled, floundered or failed.

Now, consider the peninsula’s physical location within Asia and the world in general (Asia map above). It is an oddball. It gets in the way of sea traffic, except that today western reporters and their copycat minions at Malaysiakini, their liberal heads saddled with and poisoned by useless academics, by Hans Morgenthau and balance of power theories, called the location ‘geo-strategic’.  If life’s activities were reduced to strategy, then the way out of the land blockade is to sink the Tanah Melayu (along with all the Malaiyoos living there). Short of that the Tanah‘s only useful purpose, its raison d’etre, in the world scheme of things, is to the ease the passage of movement for everybody: rangkai 让开. Out of our way Malaiyoo!

What then is the purpose of the ECRL? Ostensibly nothing other than to tie together some infrastructure, chiefly, rails, ports and industrial/agriculture zones. Those infrastructure have two features:

  • they are dispersed along the peninsula then gathered up and linked back by rail, road and ports along the ECRL as if it were holding together the land’s two disparate parts, the East and West Coasts; this is a feature of work and planning ignored by politicians since Merdeka; and,
  • other than the ECRL, there is no apparent industrial connection between Singapore and West Coast on the one part and south Thailand and the East Coast, on the other. One side has the money, but what has the other side except coconut huts and petroleum when it is still there, hopefully? Certainly not markets. So, what are the rails and ports suppose to ship that can’t be shipped now?

Peculiar to these two features is that industrial and agricultural developments are not entities constructed independent in themselves and independent of the rest of the world — the sort of economic planning and heavy industries conceived in Mahathir’s days. No, instead they are hitched to the world, specifically to a sea trade between the east (East Asia, Indonesia) and the west (India and Europe).

Mahathir’s fallacy was to imagine that a stand-alone factory, never reliant on the world, is a model of independence. If independent, therefore successful, as if to embody a sort of towering, super Malaiyoo. Yet Perwaja became a model of a failed Malaiyoo, the price you pay for tying (race) politics to economic objectives. So, too, MAS and Cyberjaya and Putrajaya. Admit it, they are like ghost towns today as opposed to the vibrancy of a thriving metropolis.

China’s idea inverses all that’s sacred to Mahathir. And it is willing to bet on them by committing both material and financial resources. Malaysia’s own resources are depleting; its markets are too small to promise its people the kind of future envisaged.

So, to make up for both, an anomaly of international geography is turned into a domestic opportunity. The East Coast belt of Kertih, Kemaman and Kuantan is an example: no resources but offshore petroleum nearby; neither industrial nor consumer markets but a jumping off point for markets in the rest of Southeast Asia and East Asia, China in particular.

The Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park is a microcosm of those larger objectives. It is actually a trade-off. In 2012 April, Malaysia had already received, near Nanning, Guangxi province, the Qinzhou China-Malaysia Industrial Park (中马钦州产业园区), an area of some 50km by 60km (location and photos below). To-date, China is still waiting for Malaysia to keep its end of the bargain. To make such a park worthwhile and profitable, the Kuantan Park was fitted into the ECRL planning and into China’s market needs as well.

There is nothing China cannot get at home and from elsewhere without going through Kuantan. But, in the spirit of promoting of joint development — and, as Malaysians would say, putting money where your mouth is — China committed a part of its own future industrial dependence on Kuantan, the ECRL by extension.

The problem, as the years unfolded, wasn’t China keeping its bargain. It understands Najib Razak had been busy elsewhere (Mongolia? Caspian Sea? Argentina?) and would wait. When, at last, he came to China, willing to commit ideas to contracts, it was post-1MDB debacle and everybody in Malaysia, from Mahathir Mohamad down, was seeing it as some China-Najib-1MDB conspiracy, the ECRL smack in between. Then, worse for it, making the plan a sort of Malay fighting Chinese race politics, and bringing US political and South China Sea geo-strategic considerations into the picture.

Malays (Mahathir not the least) have, in effect, muddled the entire waters of the South China Sea on what’s really had been in its origins and its purpose a straight and honorable deal.

Why are Malaiyoos so stupid? The stupidity of Malays raises doubts in China: Are they a good bet? Can they be trusted? Why are they so willing to jeopardize the future of an entire society simply to smack one man?

明人不用细说,响鼓不用重锤: A person of good sense needs no convincing, a resonant drum needs no heavy beating.

https://i1.wp.com/www.mcbc.com.my/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Qinzhou-Location.jpg

https://shuzheng.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/b_6china.jpg?w=320&h=213

https://i0.wp.com/news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-04/01/131503352_31n.jpg